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Full text of "Five Arguments in the Leo Frank Case by Berry Benson"

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FIVE ARGUMENTS IN THE FRANK CASE. 



By Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga. 



I— ANALYSIS OF THE MURDER NOTES. 
II— THE WARDROBE PERJURY. 
Ill— THE ELEVATOR PERJURY. 

IV— DORSEY'S STAR WITNESS CONVICTS CONLEY. 
V— JAMES CONLEY ACCUSES MARY PHAGAN. 



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FIVE ARGUMENTS IN THE FRANK CASE. 



By Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga. 



I— ANALYSIS OF THE MURDER NOTES. 
II— THE WARDROBE PERJURY. 
Ill— THE ELEVATOR PERJURY. 

IV— DORSEY'S STAR WITNESS CONVICTS CONLEY. 
V— JAMES CONLEY ACCUSES MARY PHAGAN. 

A Word Personal. 

1 am an old Confederate soldier, of the 1st South Carolina 
Volunteers. I fired one shot into Sumter, from an 8-inch Co- 
lumbiad, April 13th, 1861. I was at the surrender at Appo- 
mattox, April qth, 1865. Captured at Spottsylvania, after the 
battle of the Bloody Angle, 1 was a prisoner of war at Point 
Lookout, the Old Capitol, and Elmira. At Point Lookout two 
days, I escaped, swam the Potomac, a mile wide, 14 miles be- 
low Washington, was recaptured near Mt. Vernon, and im- 
prisoned in Alexandria jail. At Elmira I again escaped, and 
made my way through New York. Pennsylvania, Maryland, 
and Virginia, back to Lee's army at Richmond. The details of 
this adventure are published in a new war book on prison life. 

My sufferings as a prisoner compel me to sympathise with 
anyone who may be unjustly in prison, as is Leo Frank. 

I have made a study of the Frank case from the beginning. 
I am thoroughly satisfied he is innocent, and knew nothing 
whatever of the murder. 

To inform myself better, I went to Atlanta and stayed five 
days, at my own expense. I am publishing this book at my 
own expense, though I can ill afford it. I have put upon it a 
small price, to reimburse me in part for the many I shall give 
away. Any one receiving it. and wishing to send the price, 
may do so. I am not asking it. I have not received one cent 
from Frank's people, nor from anybody. I make this state- 
ment to anticipate the low jibe of any vicious or crazy person, 
or any person both crazy and vicious, who may say I am in 
the pay of the Jews. Any such statement is false. 



I.— AN ANALYSIS OF THE MURDER NOTES. 

By nature I am fond of problems of all kinds, whether 
of mathematics, philosophy, natural science, or mere me- 
chanical tricks and puzzles. 



My business is public accounting. In this work I some- 
times have hard problems to solve: the harder, the better 
I like them. Or mathematical ones, say like this: 

Diagonally across a room 10 feet by 20 runs a carpet 
three feet wide, its four square corners just touching the four 
sides of the room ; what is the length of the carpet? 

When you give this up, tell me why you thought it 
easy to judge Frank guilty. 

From the first, the Frank "case interested me. It was a 
problem. .Was Frank the murderer, or was Conley? One 
of the two certainly was. There is no third alternative. I 
followed the trial through the papers, trying to draw a con- 
clusion. Throughout the mass of testimony there was nothing- 
fast to lav hold of. All the evidence was circumstantial, con- 
fused, irrelevant, or contradictory. I wrote duplicate let- 
ters to the two principal attorneys, Horsey and Rosser, giv- 
ing some of my views and asking questions. Both treated 
my letters with respect, answering me courteously. But 
no real information. And when the trial was ended, and 
the verdict given. 1 was still at sea. ( >nly this was sure: The 
guilt lay between Frank and Conley. If Conley told the truth. 
if Frank dictated the two murder notes, Frank was guilty: 
it Conley lied, if Frank did not dictate the notes, then 
Conley was the murderer. Did Frank dictate the notes, or 
did he not? 

If 1 could see the notes, study them, digest them, I 
might form a clear opinion: but 1 could not expect to have 
these notes sent to me. Then 1 read that photographic 
copies could be had from Attorney Henry A. Alexander, 
and from him 1 procured them. He asked me to write him 
my conclusions, and this article is. in the main, my letter 
of .March 22nd, 10,14, in reply. 

As the son of an owner of slaves till my 18th year, then 
as a Confederate soldier more than four years, and since 
the war as a citizen of Augusta, Georgia: of Austin, Texas; 
of New York City; and of Washington City, employing ne- 
groes, I know somewhat of negro character and of negro 
manner of expression. And I know somewhat of the white 
man's ability ( and inability) to imitate him. And it ; s 
my candid and fixed opinion, after careful scrutiny and patient 
studv of these two notes, that there is not a white man, 



either North or South, who could have dictated them. They 
are negro throughout, beyond the white man's ability to 
imitate. If Edgar Allan Poe, a genius with his pen, a 
Southern man, failed, as he did fail, in his story of "The Gold 
Bug," to write properly the dialect of the Carolina coast ne- 
gro, how could a Northern man, in the South but a few 
years, possibly express negro lingo? There is not one North- 
ern writer who attempts to write negro but makes a ridicu- 
lous failure. He cannot even read it; I have to stop my 
ears with my fingers when I hear him try. 



The negro swears that the note beginning "he said" was 
the first note written ; and the note beginning "Mam" the 
second note written. 

This is manifest perjury. Read the two notes, first the 
one beginning "Mam," then the other. They join smoothly, 
in natural sequence. Reverse the order and read; they are 
disjointed, not in natural consecutive. 

"he said." Who said? 

"play like the night witch did it." Did what? 

Reading the "Mam" note first, the notes explain them- 
selves. 

Who said? "That negro" said. 

Did what? "1 >id litis." 

I contend that no sane man of fair mind can con- 
sider this point and believe the negro. 

Xow, while it is absolutely clear that he lies as to the 
order in which he wrote these two notes, reversing (in his 
testimony) the order in which he did write them, why does 
lie lie about it? 1 was puzzled over this until, investigating 
further, and understanding better the negro's character, 1 saw 
that it was because, being conscious of his guilt, he was al- 
ways afraid of the truth, and took refuge (as he thought) in 
lies. Lying seemed always safer to him than the truth, so he 
lied, through fear, even when the lie was of no value to hint. 
"The wicked flee when no man pursueth." 



Colonel Dorsey argues that the use of the word "did" 
in the notes, and not "done." is proof of Frank's dictation. 
That the negro would have written "done," and that thereby 
Frank is convicted as the composer of the notes. 

Colonel Dorsey is wrong. The use of the word "did" 
argues exactly the contrary. 



The use of "done" for "did" prevails of course largely 
still with the negro race; time was when it was almost uni- 
versal ; but in these days of negro schools it is one of the young 
negro's first lessons that it is wrong to say "done" ; he must 
say "did." And there are plenty of negroes in these clays who 
speak properly in this respect, just as they have learned to 
say "this and that" instead of "dis and dat." So the use of 
the word "did" in these notes is no proof at all that they 
are a white man's dictation. 

Again, if Frank were dictating the notes he must neces- 
sarily keep in mind, all the time, that these notes, when 
found, would at once be known not to be by Mary Phagan, 
that soon or late they would be known to be Conley's hand- 
writing, therefore he would have to keep out of them any 
sign, even the least, that they were of his (Frank's) suggestion. 
Now, while the Northern man is quite incapable of writing 
negro, he does know this, that "dis and dat," and "done" (for 
did), are essentially negro. And Frank is just as smart as 
his critics, and he would take care, if he were dictating the 
notes, or suggesting them, that he must use "done," and not 
"did," if the notes were to be attributed to Conley alone, 
free from his suggestion. Therefore, that the word used is 
"did," and not "done," is evidence that Frank did not dictate 
the notes, or see them at all. And Conley, a young negro, 
had learned that "did" is right, and "done" is wrong. 

Colonel Dorsey contended that Conley, in his testimony, 
always said "done," and not "did." Grant, for the moment, 
that he did. Any man, be he white or black, will always 
write more correctly than he speaks. In speaking he is 
less careful. Many lapses are made by white men, even 
educated men, in speech, that they would not make in writing. 
But a few days ago a child corrected me for saying, "J done 
it," an inheritance from my childhood. But I'd never write it. 

But Colonel Dorsey 's contention in this, as in nearly all 
his contentions of moment, is broken down by the facts, 
as absolutely as the negro's testimony is broken down by the 
facts. See, in the Brief of Evidence, how many times in his 
testimony the negro said "did." 

"And I did as he said." 

"You asked me what I did the second Saturday; I don't 
remember." 

"As to what I did the next Saturday, I disremember." 

"The Saturday after that I did some more watching." 




"I don't remember what I did the Saturday before Thanks- 
giving day." 

"I don't remember what I did the Saturday after Thanks- 
giving day." 

"1 don't know, sir, what I did the next Saturday." 

"The next Saturday I did some watching for him." 

"Snowball and me did just plain labor." 

"I couldn't tell you the first time he did this." 

"I did my best." 

Twelve times. How many times did he say "done"? 
Five times. 

And on the 19th of January, 1915, at the Atlanta court- 
house, in an interview with Conley, Rev. J. E. White asked 
him. "Would you like to see Mr. Frank hung?" 

"That's his business," the negro answered, ".Mr. Frank 
knows what he did." 



I said that Frank, if dictating or suggesting the notes, 
would bear in mind all the time that Conley would become 
known as the writer of them. Necessarily so. Because though 
they purport to be written by Mary Phagan, it must be im- 
mediately clear, when the notes were found, that they were 
not her writing; indeed, that under the circumstances it would 
be impossible for her to write at all. That then inquiry 
would soon develop the fact that the notes were in Conley's 
handwriting. That then, Conley being accused, he must 
necessarily, in his own defense, disclose that Frank dictated 
them, and accuse him of the murder. This would be a certain 
and inevitable sequel, that Frank would have to face Con- 
ley's accusation. A much less quick mind than Frank's 
would see this absolutely. Then why prepare for himself so 
fatal a trap? Would it not have been suicidal and idiotic? 
And Frank is no idiot. Nor is he a bungler. And Conley is. 
To write those notes and place them by the child's body was 
an idiotic blunder. To contend that the note beginning "he 
said" was the first note he wrote, and that the note beginning 
"Mam" was the second note he wrote, is an idiotic blunder. 
Conley is not smart; he has a low cunning: that is all. 

Now again. In the second note (the first note, as the 
negro calls it), Conley writes the word "land" (for laying), 
meaning "lying." If the use of the word "did" instead of 
" done" be considered evidence that Frank dictated the 
notes, what about the use of "laying" instead of "lying"? Is 



it to be supposed that Frank, an educated man, does not 
know that "laying" is wrong? Or is it rather to be supposed 
that Conley, the ignorant negro, does not know it is wrong? 

What about "hoo" and "wase" and "sleam" and "wood" 
and "wright"? 



Now again. In the second note he says, "play like the 
night witch did it." Think of that combination, will you? 
"Night witch did it." "Did" proving (so Colonel Dorsey in- 
sists) that Frank dictated the notes. And "night witch" prov- 
ing— what? That Frank dictated "night witch"? Is it pos- 
sible that any sane man can credit such stupidity of thought? 

"Play like"! A childish term that every white boy dis- 
cards before he is ten years old, but is retained by the ig- 
norant negro just from paucity of his vocabulary. Had Frank 
dictated these notes he would have said "pretend"; he never 
would have thought of "play like." Nor would any other 
white man. It is too childish, too niggery. Even as these 
two notes, in their entirety of mode of thought, mode of ex- 
pression, and imbecile blunder, are of the nigger, niggery. 
They fit in well with the savage brutality of the murder. 

Now again. If Frank dictated these two notes, (one three 
times over before he was satisfied, Conley swears), then 
why was Frank satisfied with "night witch"? A term so vague 
in meaning that it would surely be misunderstood by many, 
as it has been misunderstood. Frank, they say, is a smart 
man : would that be smart? 



When the detectives, to test his handwriting, dictated to 
Conlev the two notes, he wrote, not "night witch." as in the 
original, but "night witchman." meaning night watchman, 
thus proving that he understood the note. For the reason that 
he composed it himself. 

But when they dictated the note to Frank, he, unfamiliar 
with the note, misunderstood the dictation, and, instead of 
writing "night witch," he wrote "night which." Thus prov- 
ing that the notes were new to him, and were not dictated 
nor composed by him. 

In like manner, when they dictated "Mam," he misunder- 
stood, and wrote "Man." (See photographic copy). 

The negro swears that he wrote the two notes at the 
same time, at Frank's desk, on paper taken from his desk, and 



at Frank's dictation. They were not written at the same 
time. The "Mam" note was written first and the other 
afterward, with some interval of time elapsed— an after- 
thought. This is clear for two reasons : 

First, because the first note, at its ending, is badly 
crowded, with the manifest intent to get all in on that sheet ; 
so much crowded, in fact, that the last word, -me." is written 
under the last line, on the bottom edge of the sheet. Had 
he intended to write more he would not have so crowded 
at the end; anyhow, he would have carried the word "1116" to 
the next sheet. This is further evidenced by the general 
fact that he was very free with his paper, giving himself plenty 
of room, even skipping lines. The beginning was on the third 
line, and two other full lines were skipped, besides leaving 
wide margins in beginning lines. As are not thus left in the 
second (and shorter) note. This crowding at the end of the 
first note shows that he did not then intend to write a sec- 
ond note. 

Second, because the writing in the second note, although 
unmistakably the same hand, is smaller than that in the first 
note. I observed this on first inspection of the notes; then, 
having enlarged photographs made. 1 measured carefully, with 
surveyors' compasses in 32nds of an inch, all the letters in 
both notes, and I found that the letters in the first note ex- 
ceed in height those in the second note in proportion of 120 
to too: that is. they are one-fifth higher, in elevation, on the 
average. This is a very great difference; and it is to be 
accounted for by the second note being written later than 
the first note by some interval of time. when, probably, the 
nerves of the writer had recovered somewhat from the ex- 
citement of the murder. 

That the second note was written at all is due, I have 
no doubt, to an oversight made in writing the first note. In 
the second note it is said : "That long tall black negro." 
The first note does not so read. Tt reads: "A long tall negro 
black." A strained, unusual, inverted expression, the word 
"black" out of its proper place before "negro." Examine in the 
photograph this word "black." It is crowded in, at the end 
of the line, the last letter, "k." upon the very edge of the 
sheet, not fully formed, and its stem running across the "c." 
There was no need thus, to crowd it in if the next line below 
were blank. But it was not blank : it had already been 
written. And it is not Conley's way to crowd ; he gives 







himself plenty of room, as is easy to see. Note that the 
previous word, "negro," already extended beyond the writing 
on the line above. What he wrote was this: 

"he push me 

"down that hole 

"a long tall negro 

"that hoo it wase 

"long sleam tall negro 

"i wright while play with me." 
describing an imaginary negro the antithesis of himself. Af- 
terward, noting that he had not written "black," (hehimself 
being brown), he wrote the second note, in which he brought 
in the descriptive "black," and "play like the night witch did 
it." Then, to make the first note conform, and add its 
testimony to the -man being black, he crowded in the word 
"black." after "negro," making the very awkward and un- 
natural reading, "a long tall negro black." 

So the two notes were not written at the same time, as 
be swears they were, at Frank's desk. They were written in 
the basement, on scraps of paper which were there in abun- 
dance. 

Now again. If these notes were written at Frank's desk, 
at his dictation, or suggestion, after several trials, (as the 
negro swears), why did Frank allow him to begin on the 
third line from the top, and to skip the fourth and sixth lines, 
when Frank would very well know, from the experiments 
made, that the sheet would be crowded at the bottom, as it is? 
It is too absurd for any one of good sense to believe. The 
crowded condition at the end of the first sheet, and the plenty 
of room on the second sheet show that the first sheet was 
intended to be all, and that the second sheet was an after- 
thought, written later, after some interval, as a postscript. 

The negro swears that in writing the first note, (the one 
he calls the second), he wrote, "that negros hire down here," 
and that Frank corrected him, making him rub out the "s," in- 
forming him that "negros" means more than one negro. A 
manifest lie, this, for any six year old pickaninny knows that 
"negro" means one only, and "negros" two or more. Nor 
does he himself write "negros" for negro. In his obscene 
letters to the Carter woman, he writes negro. And he writes 
it correctly, not "negros." Once he wrote, "that negro may 
have got out on bond," and once, "i have got a negro watch- 
ing you." (See photographs.) 






Yet he tried to play a trick on me and his lawyer. In 
May. 1914, I had an interview with him, in the Atlanta jail, in 
the presence of his attorney. -Mr. Win. M. Smith. Mr. Smith 
would not allow me to see him alone. That was before Mr. 
Smith became converted to the full and absolutely honest 
belief in Frank's innocence, and the negro's guilt. I said 
■•Jim write me something," handing him paper and pencil. 
This, remember, was long after the Carter letters. He wrote: 



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•■.Mama that long tall black negros did this by himslef 
hi said lay down play like the night witchmau did it but 
that long tall black negros did it by his slef." 



This was a low negro trick, done with the manifest in- 
tent of having me and his lawyer to believe that he did not 
yet know better than to write "negros" for "negro," and to 
believe, consequently, that his story of the murder notes was 
true. He is the damnedest liar in Georgia. 



Now, here is another consideration, a most important 
one. He swears Frank engaged him to come back that after- 
noon to burn the body, but he went to sleep and did not 
come. If that were true, if Frank intended to burn the body. 
of what earthly use, then, would these notes be to Frank? 
Would they not be utterly useless, in the way, and have to be 
destroyed? Then why should he take so much pains to pro- 
duce notes that would have to be immediately destroyed? The 
burning of the body would be to make it appear that Mary- 
had run away or been kidnapped, while the notes were to 
make it appear, contradictorily, that she had been foully dealt 
with by a "long tall sleam negro black." who was not Jim 
Conley. Is it not perfectly clear that these two stories are 
thoroughly and flagrantly contradictory of each other? Is 
anybody accusing the negro any more vehemently than he 
accuses himself by uttering these two contradictory stories, 
both of them false? Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga. 



II.— THE WARDROBE PERJURY: 

HOW COULD MARY PHAGAN BE IN TWO PLACES 

AT ONE TIME? 

(This article first published in Augusta Chronicle, June t<), 
J914. was reprinted in many papers throughout the country). 



Mow could Mary Phagan be at home alive, and at the 
factor}-, being killed, at u 105 a. m.? 

flow could she be at home eating her dinner and in the 
factory basement dead at 11:35 a - m -? • 

How could she be leaving home for the car and be in the 
factory basement dead at 11:45 a - m -~- 

How could she be on the car, on her way to the factory, 
and in the factory basement dead at 12:02 p. m.? 



Mefore going on the stand to swear against Frank (and 
to save his own life), the negro, James Conley, swore to four 
different tales as to the murder — tales of minute detail — all 



of which he acknowledged on the stand to be lies. He is, 
therefore, a four times self-confessed perjurer. 

I have seen, and handled, and read, and I have photo- 
graphic copies of the obscene letters which James Conley, this 
four-times-self-confessed perjurer, wrote to the negro woman, 
Annie Carter, in the Atlanta jail. These are most positively 
his writing. He does not deny it; it would be useless. These 
letters are not merely obscene, too obscene to print — 
"too terrifically obscene to be allowed through the mails," 
as United States District Attorney Codington decided — but 
in them the negro states to the woman, in foulest langu- 
age, his preference for the base crime of sodomy to the act 
of nature. Not once merely, but again and again and again 
he states his desire and intent to commit with her this foul 
crime, gloating in the bestiality of his filthy thought and pur- 
pose as a dog wallows in carrion. 

It is upon his testimony, and his alone — this lying negro, 
this four-timcs-self-confessed perjurer, this base sodomite — 
that a white man, Leo Frank, is condemned to death. Leo 
Frank, of whom I have heard said, "He will not tell a dirty 
tale, nor will he listen to one." 

This negro perjurer swears that after Frank and himself 
had taken Mary Phagan's dead body to the basement and had 
returned to Frank's private office and were there talking, 
Frank, Avalking into the outer office exclaims: "My God, here 
conies Emma Clark and Quincy Hall. Get in this wardrobe. 
damn it. quick." (Quincy is as the negro pronounced to me 
the name Corinthia. Emma Clark is Mrs. Emma Clark 
Freeman.) That Frank hustled him into the wardrobe, a 
thing it would have been utterly silly to do, even had Mary 
Phagan been then murdered. As she was not, for she did nol 
come to Frank's office till half an hour after they had gone. 
That he heard the ladies come in ; that he heard Miss Emma's 
voice savins, "Good morning. Mr. Frank ;" that he heard them 
talking in low tones, but that he did not hear Mrs. Freeman 
call up her husband through the telephone, as she did do, 
(lie heard their voices talking low, but he did not hear the 
call through the telephone.) Why did he not hear it? Be- 
cause he lied. Fie was not in Frank's office nor on the second 
floor, where he said the murder was committed, any time 
that day. 

These ladies — good, respectable white Southern women — 
loth swear that they came into Frank's office about n :35 a m. 



Mrs. Freeman there using the telephone, and that they left 
about II :45 a. in. 

MisS Hattie Hall (no kin to Miss Corinthia Hall) sten- 
ographer for Montag Bros., as nice a girl as one may know, 
whom I talked with, swears that she was in Frank's office, 
typewriting, from n o'clock till 12:02, and she confirms the 
testimony of these two ladies as to the time they were there. 
Other corroborative testimony as to the time is that of Mrs. 
J. A. White, E. K. Graham and O. Tillander. 

The negro perjurer (Conley) swears that the murder was 
done half an hour before he was put into the wardrobe — that 
is, about 11:05 a - ni - — if these four ladies and two men speak 
the truth (and there is other evidence confirming theirs as to 
the time). Now, at 11:05 a. in. Mary Phagan was at home 
helping her mother in the housekeeping, as I have learned 
from her mother. How could she be at home alive and 
at the factory being killed at the same time? 

At 11:35 a - m -> when the negro perjurer swears he was 
being unnecessarily hustled into the wardrobe, the murder 
being done some half hour before, Mary Phagan was at 
home eating her dinner, so her mother swears. How could 
she be eating her dinner at home and be lying dead in the 
cellar? 

At 11:45 a - '■"•. when the negro perjurer swears he was 
being let out of the wardrobe, the murder being done some 
forty minutes, Mary Phagan was just leaving home for the 
car, so her mother swears. How could she be just leaving 
home and be lying dead in the basement both at the same time? 
And at 12:02 o'clock, when .Miss Flattie Hall was leaving 
Frank's office (the child being dead, according to the perjurer, 
Conley, an hour.) Mary Phagan was on the car on her way 
to the factory, as is sworn to by street car conductors and 
motormen. Mow could she be on the car and be lying dead in 
the factory both at the same time? 

White men of Georgia, white women of Georgia, who is 
the liar? Are these good Southern women, are these good 
Southern men all to be branded liars and the word of this 
base negro perjurer, swearing to save his life, to be taken 
instead? Are these four respectable white Southern women, 
whose word is as good as mine or yours, any one of whom 
might happen to be your wife, or sister, or daughter, to be 
classed in belief beneath this base negro perjurer, this beastly 
sodomite? Has Georgia come to that? 



I am an old Confederate, a man of the old time when 
Georgia was proud of her white men and white women. I 
ask, has Georgia come to that? 

Colonel Dorsey, in his speech to the jury, spoke af- 
fectionately of this beastly negro as "Old Jim — Old Jim." 
Who knows how far this undeserved euphemy of a brute may 
have influenced the jury and the public in his favor and against 
Frank? Who knows? 

"Old Jim" — as though this base young negro was one 
of the old-time gray-headed darkeys whose vigilant faithful- 
ness is woven into Confederate history, watchmen in the 
night who loved their masters and mistresses as they loved 
their God. 

"Old Jim" — young hell fiend ! Jim Conley is one of these 
salacious young negroes whose lustful eyes follow white 
women as they pass, deterred from attacking them only by 
fear of the noose and the white man's revolver! 

I have called this negro sodomite beastly; I apologize to 
the beasts. Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga. 



III.— THE ELEVATOR PERJURY. 

(This article was a letter in answer to some of my 
friends who asked me for my reasons for believing Frank 
innocent. It was published in The' Augusta Chronicle, De- 
cember 21, 1914.) 

Dear Sirs: I have your letter asking my reasons for 
believing Leo Frank innocent of the murder of Mary Phagan. 
I am willing to give you some few of my reasons on one 
condition — that you will not reply, as some of my good friends 
have done, "Oh, hell, the jury found him guilty." As though 
"Oh hell'" were a proof or an argument; or as though juries 
had not made wrong verdicts hundreds and hundreds and 
hundreds of times. So many times found wrong too late — 
when the victim of their judgment was beyond recall to the 
life they had taken away. 

My reasons are many and strong. In the short space of 
a letter I can give you but a few of these many. 

I have made a close study of the case from the beginning. 
As a rule I refuse to read accounts of crime, these being dis- 
tasteful to me, as much so (or nearly as much so) as are the 
repulsive caricatures of humanity in the so-called funny 
papers. But this case was a problem: Who killed Mary 
Phagan? And problems fascinate me. 



As the trial progressed I was unable, from the conflict- 
ing testimony given, to form a conclusion. But when the 
negro testified that after Frank and he had taken the child's 
body to the cellar (as he swore) and that Frank, in his 
office, had given him $200 as hush money, and then taken it 
back, I saw a light. For I knew, from long experience as an 
accountant, that it is extremely rare a wholesale house has 
in hand $200 in money after bank hours. And men who 
carry $200 in their pockets are exceeding few. 

I wrote to the contending lawyers, Dorsey and Rosser, a 
joint letter, the same to both, stating my grave doubt of the 
truth of this testimony. And suggesting that they bring into 
court the cashbook and checkbook of the factory, and ascertain 
whether, at that time, $200 was in the drawer. This is easily 
done by subtracting from the cashbook balance the amount in 
bank ; the difference is the cash in the drawer. 

Both attorneys replied courteously, thanking me for the 
suggestion. The books were brought into court, and the 
cash balance was found to be $26.20. There was not $200 
in the drawer to give the negro. As for Frank having $200 
of his own money, it was found on examination of Frank's 
private checkbook that he had been drawing $5 from his bank 
every few days— April 9th, $5; April 15th, $5; April 24th, $5. 
(The murder was on the 26th). Would a man with $200 
in his pocket be drawing small $5 checks at short intervals? 

I asked Conley, in the jail, "Jim, if Mr. Frank took the 
money back, how did you know it was $200?" "I didn't know 
it," he replied, "Mr. Frank said it was $200. Anyhow, it was 
a big roll." Would any man carry a big roll when he could 
easily get it changed into tens and twenties? The negro lied, 
as was his habit. And he was lying to save his life. 

In my article in The Chronicle of June 18th, "How Could 
Mary Phagan F.e in Two Places at One Time?" this was 
my argument : 

At the trial the negro, confessing he had perjured himself 
four times, told a fifth and different tale. He swore that after 
Frank and he had taken the child's body by the elevator to the 
cellar, they went then to Frank's inner office and were there 
talking when Frank, walking into the outer office, exclaimed, 
"My God, here comes Quincy Flail and Emma Freeman ; get in 
this wardrobe, damn it, quick." That Frank hustled him into 
the wardrobe, that he heard the ladies come in, heard their 
voices talking low, but he did not hear Mrs. Freeman call her 



v^ 



husband through the telephone. As she did do. 

Being asked if they used the telephone, nc was afraid 
the question was a trap, he was afraid to say yes. and he 
was afraid to say no. So, cunningly he said he didn't hear 
the call through the telephone. When he had just heard their 
voices "talking low." It was safe enough to say he heard 
"Good morning, Mr. Frank,"— of course they would say that. 
These ladies did conic to Frank's office. The negro learned 
that by reading the papers or by being coached. But. as to the 
time they were there, he makes it an hour and a half later than 
the time they were actually there! And by so doing he makes 
it evident that his whole story of the elevator and the ward- 
robe is pure fabrication. 

These ladies both swear that they came there about II 35, 
used the telephone and left about Ii:45- Mi?s Hattie Hall, 
stenographer for Montag Brothers, who was there writing 
letters for Frank from before n o'clock till 12:02 (she looked 
st the clock on quitting, so she told me), swears she was 
there when these two ladies came and went; that they were 
there from about 11:35 to 11:45 and that Conley did not 
come there at all. Two men, also, came to the office at that 
time, F. K. Graham and < >. Tillander, as did also Mrs. J. A. 
White and their testimony confirms that of these three ladies. 
Graham and Tillander came together to get pay due their boys. 
Both cite the time as "about 11:40." Mrs. White, wdio saw 
Graham and Tillander there, says: "Miss 11 all and Mrs. Free- 
man left first, then 1 went. That was about 11 :5c " 

Unless, then, we are ready to believe that these four good 
Southern women and these two good Southern men, whose 
reputations for truth are unchallenged, swear falsely, and that 
this four-times self-confessed perjurer speaks the truth, we 
must believe that the time the two ladies were there was 
about 11 135 to U45,and not an hour and a half later. 

The negro swears that the child was killed about half an 
hour before they went to Frank's office ; that it took them that 
time to dispose of the body. That would make the murder, 
then, about 11:05 a - m - (For the two ladies came at 11 : 3 5 . > 

But at 11:05 Mary Phagan was at home, helping her 
mother in the housekeeping: f learned that from her mother 
myself. 

At 11:35 a - ni - when the negro swears he was being 
hustled into the wardrobe, Mary Phagan was at home, eating 
her dinner, so her mother swears. 



At 11:45 a. m., when the negro swears he was being 
let out of the wardrobe, Mary Phagan was leaving home for 
the car, so her mother swears. 

And at 12:02 o'clock, when Miss JIattie Hali was leaving 
the office, (the child being then dead, according to the negro, 
an hour), Mary Phagan was on the car, on her way to 
the factory, so the conductors and motormen swear. 

How could Mary Phagan be in two places at one time? 
Conley's tale of the murder of Mary Phagan by Frank 
by strangling her with a cord on the second floor; of Frank 
and himself taking the body to the cellar on the elevator: of 
Frank taking him to his office and there giving him $200 
as hush money, and then taking it back ; of Frank's then hid- 
ing him in the wardrobe, half an hour after the murder, to 
conceal him from the two ladies coming into the office— all 
this is true, or it is not true. 

If it is true, Frank killed Mary Phagan. 
If it is not true, it is a lie told by the negro with but 
one possible motive— to escape the consequences of the crime 
committed by himself. No other motive is conceivable. 

Therefore, if the tale of the elevator and the wardrobe 
is a he, the negro killed the child. 

It can be proved— it has been proved— that it is a lie. 
Let us review the argument. Her mother and the car- 
men swear that Mary Phagan took the 11:45 car from home. 
The carmen swear that she got off the car (on time) at 12:10— 
two minutes' walk to the factory. Frank says she arrived at 
his office about 12:15. got her money. $1.20, went out. and 
he saw her no more. She must have been killed, then, about 
12:30. 

The negro swears that half an hour after the murder 
(which would be about 1 o'clock) he was hustled into the 
wardrobe on account of the arrival at the office of the two 
ladies. Six white people swear these ladies arrived at or 
near 11:35. 

Both these accounts cannot be true. Either the six white 
people swear falsely, or the negro does. If we believe the 
six white people, then we must believe the negro lies, and his 
whole story of the murder tumbles to pieces. And as he can 
have no motive for falsely accusing Frank but to escape pun- 
ishment for the crime committed by himself, then the negro 
did the murder, and Frank did not. 



But if we can believe that Frank did the murder, then 
we must believe the negro's story to be true ; we must 
believe that tine two ladies came to the office about i o'clock, 
and not about 11:35. That means that we must believe that 
these four good white Southern women and these two good 
white Southern men, with reputations for truth unchallenged, 
swore to a lie, and that the drunken, obscene negro jailbird, 
four times self-confessed perjurer, spoke the truth. Although 
he was swearing for his life. 

This argument is as exact as mathematics. Its conclu- 
sion is as certain as simple addition. If any one believes 
Frank guilty, he must believe these six white people to be 
guilty of perjury. 

Are we to believe, then, that the twelve jurymen w r ere 
so recreant to their race, so regardless of the fair name 
m| (ieorgia, as deliberately to ascribe perjury to their white 
fellow citizens, deliberately to exalt above theirs the word 
of this base, self-admitted negro perjurer? I do not believe 
that. 

i believe that the twelve jurymen are Southern enough, 
and white enough, to believe, in this, exactly as I believe. 
Hut. in the clamor and turmoil of the trial, they lost sight 
of the fact, obscured by the smoke of the battle, that right 
here lay a vital crux of the question; they did not realize 
that these testimonies were in direct and irreconcilable con- 
flict; that if they give credit to the negro's story of the ward- 
robe they brand these six good white people as liars immitig- 
able. But if these twelve jurymen will study the case as I have 
studied it they cannot fail to see — and see clearly. 



Now, we may dispute oral testimony if we will; we may 
disbelieve six respectable white people and believe, if we 
will, one dissolute, perjured negro swearing for his life: but 
there is one testimony it is impossible to dispute— a physical 
fact. 

One such physical fact is that, with all the controversy 
about stains on the floor, as to whether they were blood or 
paint, no blood was found on the elevator. 

Another incontrovertible physical fact is this: The negro 
swears that about two hours before the murder he went to 
the basement and there eased himself, on the ground, under the 
elevator, the elevator itself being at a floor above. He did 
do this, for, the next morning, when the police came and 



went down through the trapdoor, by the ladder, they found 
this matter there, untouched. Later, when they used the 
elevator, the elevator came down on it and (as they say) 
"mashed it. making a smell." 

Now, it is the testimony of every one in the factory 
that whenever the elcvatur goes to the basement it is always 
allowed to strike the bottom. Conley, himself, at the trial, 
swore ("see Brief, page J 2). -When the elevator goes to the 
basement it hits the dirt." And again he says, "The elevator 
don't hit hard when it hits the ground." 

That the elevator is always allowed to hit the ground 
there is thoroughly good reason. 

The elevator moves slowly, the jar is hardly perceptible, 
it is dark down there, so that if one going down should stop it 
purposely he would likely stop it an unknown height above the ' 
ground, and might get hurt getting off in the dark. I went 
clown with Mr. Schiff, the head clerk, with a lamp. The ele- 
vator struck the ground gently. "Now I will show you." said 
Mr. Schiff, "that it is not customary to stop the elevator pur- 
posely." With that he grasped the chain, as though to stop the 
elevator, and showed me his hand. The palm was red with 
iron rust. I saw at once that if it were customary to stop the 
elevator purposely there would be no iron rust there — the fre- 
quent contact of hands with the chain would keep it free from 
rust. And remember, Conley himself says, "it hits the dirt." 

Then, if the child's body was taken down on the elevator 
two hours after the negro's peccadillo, why was not this 
excrement then mashed as it was mashed the next day. when 
the police first used the elevator? There is but one answer to 
this question: The negro perjurer lied : the elevator was not 
used the whole day of the murder. Therefore, the body of 
Mary Phagan was not taken down on the elevator — the negro 
pushed her down through the trapdoor. "He push me down 
that hole," so the murder note reads. 

"Mam that negro 

"hire down here did 

"this i went to make 

"water and he push me 

"down that hole- 

"a long tall negro black 

"that hoo it wase 

"long sleam tall negro." 

Conley being short, and chunky, and brown. This clumsy 



effort to foist his crime upon an unknown negro (the antithesis 
of himself, please notice) was made at the time of the murder, 
long before Frank was accused. He was brought to see the 
utter folly of this claim, and then, when Frank was suspected, 
he turned his accusation against Frank, claiming that Frank 
dictated the notes to him on the day before the murder ! 

Sometimes I think it must be wonderful amusing to Satan 
to hear all this clamor against Frank, and to see the real crim- 
inal slipping through the rigid fingers of the law, escaping 
justice. I imagine the grin on his face. 

I could give you many other reasons — good ones — -why 
Frank did not kill Mary Phagan, and why Conley did; but if 
these will not convince you, neither would the rest — not if told 
by an angel from heaven. Yours very truly, 

Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga. 



IV.— COLONEL DORSEY'S STAR WITNESS 
CONVICTS THE NEGRO. 

One of the State's most prominent witnesses in the Frank 
trial was Miss Monteen Stover. With the exception of the 
negro. Conley, she may be rightly termed its Star Witness. 

Miss Stover's sworn testimony was that on the day of the 
murder she came to Frank's office to get her pay : that Frank 
was not in his office; that she waited five minutes and went 
away, Frank not appearing. 

Colonel Dorsey credits Miss Stover absolutely — I know 
no reason why he should not — and he contends stoutly that in 
these five minutes Frank was engaged with the murder. Not- 
withstanding the fact that Miss Stover left the building at 
12:10, and that it was not possible for Mary Phagan to have 
arrived before 12:12. 

Miss Stover swears that she came at 12:05. and went away 
at 12 :io, — looking at the clock on coming in, and on going out. 

Now, if she came into Frank's office at 12:05 s ^ c must 
have arrived at the street door below at 12:04, for it is one 
minute's walk, (forty seconds to be strict), from the front door 
to the stairs, up the stairs, and down the hall to the office. 

The negro swears that Mary Phagan came before Miss 
Stover, went to Frank's office, then in a little while walked 
back with Frank to the metal room. 

"After she went upstairs I heard her footsteps going 

"toward the office, and after she went in the office I 

"heard two people walking out of the office and go- 



"ing like they were coming down the steps. But they 

"didn't come down the steps, they went back toward 

"the metal room. After they went back there I heard 

"the lady scream, then I didn't hear no more. (He 
says he went to sleep. Immediately after hearing a 

girl scream!) "The next person I saw coming in was 

".Miss Monteen Stover." 

So, according to the negro, Mary had come, had walked 
back with Frank to the metal room, been struck by him, and 
had screamed, before Miss Stover came. 

How long before Miss Stover's coming was the scream? 

Colonel Hugh Dorsey, — listen now close to me, — you 
claim to be a fair prosecutor, — was it ten minutes? Will you 
allow it to be ten minutes? No? 

Will you allow five minutes? No? Two minutes? No? 

Will you allow one minute, — one little minute, — the next 
to nothing? What? yes, you will? Oh. thank you. But you 
had it to do, or else Miss Stover would hear the scream as she 
enters the front door, as Conley swore he heard it, sitting in a 
few feet of that door. 

One minute back of 12:04, then, is 12:03. when you say 
Mary is heard to scream. 
How long, then, before Mary's scream did Mary get off the car? 

From the corner of Broad and Hunter Streets, where, ac- 
cording to the conductor and the motorman, she got off at 
12:10, to the factory door, is two minutes' walk. From the 
door to the stairs, up the stairs, and down the hall, to Frank's 
office, is a quick forty seconds. May I call that an even min- 
ute? I may? Thank you. Thank you for the twenty seconds. 
That makes three minutes. 

For Mary to ask Frank for her pay, (supposing oven that 
she did not have to wait while he was adding a column of 
figures), for Frank to look up her envelope, and give it to her, 
for her to go and then return, and ask, "Mr. Frank, lias the 
metal come?" and to receive Frank's answer, "No," would take 
surely not less than two minutes. That makes five minutes. 

Even if Frank, desiring conversation with Mary, (as the 
prosecution would have us believe), had not detained her with 
a little talk, with a little flattery, with pretense of being un- 
able to find her envelope quickly, with all those subtle arts 
that any lover knows, which would have indubitably stretched 
the two minutes to five, to ten. to fifteen. But you insist upon 
your pound of flesh, call it two. 

For the two then to walk down the hall together, past the 



head of the stairs, to the metal room, for some talk then to 
ensue, the entreaty, the repulse, the scuffle, and for Mary to 
scream, would certainly take all of three minutes. That makes 
eight minutes. Eight minutes from the time she got off :he 
car to the scream. (And any sensible man knows that eight 
minutes is much too little). 

\\ e have figured the scream, by the negro's testimony, to 
be certainly not later than 12:03. Eight minutes back of 12:03 
makes 11:55, then, when Mary should leave the car. But ac- 
cording to the conductor, Hollis, and the motorman, Mat- 
thews, she left the car at 12:10 and not any sooner, — that the 
cr.r was clue at Broad and Hunter at 12:10, and that the car 
was on time then and all that day. 

Colonel Dorsey, with strenuously dutiful effort to elicit 
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, strove 
his mightiest to induce the car men to admit that the car was 
ahead of time, that the negro's story might "fit,"' or that the 
car might have been ahead of time, at least some little. The 
negro's story needed "fitting." But they, unawed by him and 
his vehemence, stuck to it that the car was on time, and that 
Mary left the car at 12 :io. 

Hut, (granting eight minutes only), the negro's story of 
the murder and the scream compels Mary's leaving the car at 
n :55, — fifteen minutes ahead of time! 

Will those twelve jurymen who found Frank guilty 
swallow so preposterous a tale as that a car in Atlanta was 
fifteen minutes ahead of time? They did swallow it. But 
they did not know they were swallowing it. If they had known 
it they could not have found Frank guilty. The trouble was, 
as I have said elsewhere, that in the clamor and turmoil of the 
trial neither they nor the public c6uld perceive and realize that 
in these disagreements as to time, disagreements irreconcil- 
able, lay absolute disproof of the story of the crime invented 
by the negro and his helpers. "That don't fit. Jim, that don't 
fit!" And they didn't get it to fit. after all. And lies, lies, 
lies, are not going to fit, gentlemen. Fit them at one place 
and they are out of joint at another. When once you get at 
them, study them, analyse them, compare them, one with an- 
other, "they don't fit, Jim, they don't fit !" 

Fifteen minutes ahead of time ! 

\\ "ho lies, then? Does conductor Hollis lie? Does motor- 
man Matthews lie? Does Miss Monteen Stover lie? Or does 
this four-times self-confessed negro perjurer lie? And if the 



negro lies in this, his whole story of the murder tumbles to 
pieces, as it tumbled to pieces with his lies of the wardrobe, 
and his lies of the elevator. 

If the car was fifteen minutes ahead of time, as the negro's 
perjury compels, then -Mary Phagan did not get on the car at 
ii :4S, as the conductor swears, and as the motorman swears, 
and as Mary's mother swears. 

Who lies, then? Does conductor Hollis lie? Does motor_ 
man Matthews lie? Does Mary Phagan's mother lie? Or 
docs this four-times self-confessed negro perjurer lie? As he 
lied about the wardrobe, and as he lied about the elevator. 

And there can be but one motive for his lying, but one mo- 
tive conceivable, — to shift from his own shoulders to Frank's 
the guilt of the murder. 

And I say it, and I mean it, that this base negro's story of 
the crime is so utterly incredible, is such a manifest web of 
perjuries, that it is a shame to have to discuss it. 

V.— JAMES CONLEY ACCUSES MARY PHAGAN. 

In all the evidence that came out in the Frank trial there 
was none from any quarter that cast suspicion on Mary Pha- 
gan. One and all gave Mary the credit of being a nice girl. 
Frank says of her that he did not know her. but that he has 
no reason to believe other than that she was an innocent child. 
All are in agreement in this; all the testimony is alike. 
Fxcept one. 

The negro, James Conley. 
This base negro points the accusing finger at Mary Phagan. 
Read his testimony. 

"Friday evening, the 25th 6f April, (the day before 
'"the murder), Mr. Frank came to me and said he 
'•wanted me to come next morning at 8:30; he had 
"some work for me. I got to the factory about 8:30: 
"Mr. Frank and me got to the door at the same time! 
"Mr, Frank said. "I want you to watch for me like you 
"have been doing the rest of the Saturdays.' " 
Thereupon, the negro immediately asks leave to go to the 
Capital City Laundry to see his mother, a request which Frank 
promptly grants, instructing the negro to meet him at the 
corner of Nelson and Forsyth, when he, (Frank), would be re- 
turning from Montag's, two hours later. 

If this lying negro's story were true, (as it is not), there 



would then be this condition of things: That Frank knew a 
girl was coming and that Frank engaged the negro to watch 
the door for him. That Frank must know at what time ^ she 
was coming, or he would not so promptly let the negro go 
away for two hours, during which two hours it might be she 
would come. And Frank could not know at what time she 
was coming, except by an agreement with her. 

The negro's story, therefore, carries with it the unavoid- 
able implication that there was an understanding between 
Frank and Mary, — an assignment. Thus, although he is lying, 
this base negro becomes-the accuser of Mary Phagan! 

Having thus by implication accused her, he further con- 
firms it by this testimony: 

"After she went upstairs I heard footsteps going to- 

"ward the office, and after she went in the office I 

"heard two people walking out of the office back to- 

"ward the metal room." 

The day was a holiday, Memorial Day, work suspended, 
workpeople absent, the factory deserted, silent, and still. Yet 
the negro's story has Mary to come by agreement with Frank, 
and now to walk back with him alone, down that long hall, 
silent, still, deserted, and through the folding doors to the 
metal room. The negro lies, but in his lying he thus again 
becomes the accuser of Mary Thagan ! 

Nor does the fact that he lies relieve him of aught of 
obloquy in thus accusing her as no one else accuses her; his 
perjury but adds to the depth of his infamy. 



If I were but seeking to show the turpitude of this foul 
negro I could stop here content. But I feel it my duty to this 
innocent girl to prove what I have said, that in this the negro 
lies, that this is one more perjury in the long list of perjuries 
of which he is guilty. Take Up his testimony. 

Friday evening, the 25th of April, Mr. Frank came to 
"me and said he wanted me to come next morning at 
"8:30; he had some work for me. I got to the factory 
"about 8 :30 : Mr. Frank and me got to the door at the 
"same time." 

At the same time) A manifest lie. A feat hardly possible 
to accomplish even had they had best watches set for the pur- 
pose. And all the watch the negro had was a clock on a 
steeple that he passed on his way. 



■'Mr. Frank said, 'I want you to watch for me like you 
"have been doing the rest of the Saturdays.' " 
From which we are to infer that the negro watched for 
him every Saturday ! 

"I said, 'Mr. Frank, I want to go to the Capital Uty 
"Laundry to sec my mother, and he said, 'As you 
-come back from the Laundry stop at corner of Nel- 
son and Forsyth till I go to MontagV. I got to the 
"corner of Nelson and Forsyth between 10 and 10:30. 
"Mr. Frank passed by me going to Montag's. I don't 
"know how long he stayed at Montag's." 
Why don't he know? He knew how long Miss Stover 
staved upstairs. He said "she stayed a pretty good while, not 
so very long either." This is the kind of testimony that 
"couldn't be broken down.'" Fog, just fog,-how are you go- 
ing to "break down" a fog? Mere wisps of fog. ha/.y and in- 
tangible; cobweb strands twisted by the cunning of a black 
Satan into a halter for an honest man's neck. Mere fog, like 
tirades against Frank 1 have read, by scriveners with reputa- 
tions for logic far and away above their mentality. Hard beset 
for argument, these draw forth as from a stiletto sheath, in- 
vective, insult, insinuation, innuendo, stab with them and call 
it argument. When, for real value for showing what they 
should show, and do not show, that Frank is in truth guilty, it 
is not worth five cents. Nothing is worth but clean, clear-cut 
argument. This is a clean, clear-cut argument:— 
The negro lied throughout his testimony. 
He could have no motive for lying but to save his own life. 
Therefore he did the murder. 
Therefore Frank did not. 

"He came out. and when we got to the factory we 
"both went inside, and he put his hand on the door 
"and turned the knob, and says. " 'You see, you turn 
"the knob just like this, and there can't nobody come 
"in from outside.' " 

-You see."— Showing him now, in petty detail, as though 
it were the first time, how to do the very thing he claims to 
have been doing "all these Saturdays!" Is that a sensible lie. 

or is it a fool lie? 

"And there can't nobody come in from outside." There 
can't! Then why employ the negro in this at all? Why take 
the negro so unnecessarily into his confidence, actually plac- 



ing himself in the negro's power, for any amount of blackmail, 
and paying him, to do a thing Frank could do for himself just 
as well as the negro, and better? Can any sane man believe 

this? 

•"Now there will be a young lady up here after 
"awhile, and me and her are going to chat a little.' ' 
Colonel Dorsey made much capital out of the negro's quo- 
tation of Frank's word "chat." Saying that if this account 
were not true, the negro would not have known that was a 
favorite word with Frank. And saying to the jury that Frank 
had used the word four times in his statement to the court. 
He used the word six times. The word was so much used by 
him that in two years' time at the factory the negro had 
abundant opportunity to catch on to it, and bring it into this 
piece of perjury. He was given to tricks like that. Like the 
trick he tried to play on me and Lawyer Smith in the jail, 
writing "negros" for negro, as though he did not know any 
better. 

•' 'When the lady comes I will stomp like I did before, 
" 'and you go and shut the door. And when I whistle, 
'"you unlock the door and come upstairs like you 
" 'were going to borrow some money from me, and 
'■ 'that will give the lady time to get out' " 
More detailed instruction that he would have known by 
heart ! 

"1 said. 'All right.' and I DID as he said. 'Now. what- 
ever you do, don't let Mr. Darley see you.' I says, 
" 'All right, I won't let him see me.' And I sat there 
"on the box. The first person I saw after that was 
"Mr. Darley ; he went upstairs." 

Let us analyse this fool tale. Frank engages the negro to 
come at 8 :30 to watch for him. Frank would not need anyone 
to watch at the door. With the door locked, what would there 
be to watch? Frank could lock the door himself, and that is 
all the nesro could do. or that he said he did do. Arriving at 
the door (together!) the negro at once asks leave to go away, 
and this leave, of two hours, Frank promptly grants! 

Now. Frank would either know that Mary was coming, 
or he would only guess it. If he knew it, he could only know 
it by an agreement with her. Such agreement would necessar- 
ily specify the time she would come. The time she did come 
was 12:12. Yet the negro's story is that he was told to com 
at 8 130, four hours before the time that would have been agreed 



e 



with Alary, during which four hours the negro must remain 
idle, liable to be seen by Darley, whom the negro is strictly 
cautioned against being seen by. And the very first person 
that passes after he docs take his seat is this same Mr. Darley. 
If Frank did not know Alary was coming, but only guessed 
it, then why, when he had instructed the negro to be there at 
8 :3c should he promptly dismiss him for two hours, not 
knowing but that Mary might come during those two hours? 
If answer is made that he himself had to be away two hours, 
then why did he not, in the first place, instruct the negro to 
come at 10:30, instead of hanging around two hours, subject 
to being seen by Darley? 

The negro's story is rotten. 

Arriving the second time at the factory, at 10:30. he says 
Frank goes into much detail to show him how to manage the 
lock, — the very thing he says he has been doing "all these 
Saturdays." And that he must lock the door when Frank 
"stomps", and unlock it when he whistles — the very thing lie 
says he has been doing "all these Saturdays." Why the ne- 
cessity of this minute detail of instruction after this long ex- 
perience of "al] these Saturdays?" 
The tale is rotten. 

"The next uerson I saw come in was Miss Marv 
" Perkins, that's what I call her, this lady that's dead: 
"I don't know her name." 

The monumental liar! To pretend now. after three 
months in jail on account of the murder, after hearing her 
name in those three months hundreds of times, as he must 
have heard it, — to "play like" he does not know her name! 
Rotten, rotten, rotten ! 

"After she went upstairs I heard footsteps going to- 
"ward the office, and after she went in the office I 
"heard two people walking out of the office, and going 
"like they were coming down the steps, but thev 
"didn't come down the steps, they went back toward 
"the metal room." ("Going like!"— "Play like!") 
It was contended that Frank had a fancy for Mary, that 
he had been seen addressing her. Even that she had said she 
was afraid of him ! That was the story of the 14-year-old Epps 
boy. the one that afterward had to be sent to the Reformatory. 
Think you now of the absurdity of Mary's going alone to 
Frank's office on a holiday, when she would be almost sure to 
find him alone, and she afraid of him! Tf she had to have 



her little pay, certainly then she would have her mother or 
some friend to go with her. That she did go alone to Frank's 
office, without asking- any one to go with her, without any in- 
timation of fear to her mother, is proof absolute that these 
tales about Frank are lies, and that she had no fear of him 
whatever. 

Think you now, again, of the rank absurdity of Mary 
walking down that long, silent, lonely hall, alone with Frank, 
the factory empty and still, on a holiday, and she afraid of him ! 
Think of the utter absurdity of Mary, trembling, thus walking 
with him, when there were the broad stairs and the front door! 

If this base negro perjurer's story were true, (as it can- 
not be), if she thus walked willingly with him to the metal 
room, would Frank need to strike her? The question is shock- 
ing! It is monstrous! The abominable concoction of lies of 
this base negro — he thus the accuser, the sole accuser, of Mary 
Phagan — beautiful and chaste Mary Phagan — is so repulsive, 
is such an utter wreck, is so rotten in all its details, that it is 
a shame, an insult to intelligence, to have to discuss it. 

Mary Phagan was not afraid of Frank. She had no rea- 
son to be afraid of him. She never told anybody she was afraid 
of him. If she had told anybody that, she would have told her 
mother. 

She came to get her pay. Frank gave her her pay, and 
she went down the stairs, purse in hand, to her fate. To where 
this base negro, his money spent, his brain afire with drink and 
lust, sat waiting for something to happen. "He push me down 
that hole." Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga. 



THE TRIPPING PERJURY. 

I have said that the negro is stupid. Some people will not 
believe that, but he is. Tie has low cunning, that is all. His 
writing the notes and placing them by the body was stupid. 
He relied on them, in his savage nature, through a vague in- 
heritance of the superstition that deems the inscribed birch 
bark a power in itself. No white man would have written the 
notes or placed them there. 

Here is another proof of his crass stupidity. He swore at 
the trial as follows: (See P>riel of Evidence, page 56). 

"\\ hen we got near the second floor, (going up on the 
elevator, after placing the body in the cellar). Mr. Frank tried 
to step off before it got to the floor, and his foot caught on the 






L/ 



second floor as he was stepping off, and that made him 
stumble, and he fell back, sort of against me." 

It is not necessary to ask any man properly equipped with 
brains, it is not necessary to ask any white man, Is that story 
true? It is false upon the face of it. A man stumbling in that 
way would not fall backward, he would inevitably fall forward. 
Why does the negro lie like that? Stupidity. 

That was what he swore at the trial. Two months before, 
on May 29th, 1913, he swore before G. C. February, Notary 
Public, as follows: (See Brief of Evidence, page 290.) 

"Then Mr. Frank hops off the elevator before it gets even 
with the second floor, and he makes a stumble, and he hits the 
floor and catches with both hands, and he went on around to 
the sink to wash his hands, and 1 went and cut off the motor, 
and I stood and waited for Mr. Frank to come from around 
there washing his hands, and then we went on into the office." 
This lie is a plausible lie. It could have been true. Trip- 
ping thus, a man would fall forward; he might catch on his 
hands and have to wash them. 

Why, then, did he change the plausible lie for an impos- 
sible lie? Stupidity. He got to thinking it over, and he con- 
cluded that a man, tripping thus, would fall backward instead 
of forward. Of course he didn't let his white friends know he 
was going to change it. They would have vetoed the change. 

As they vetoed another act of stupidity. See brief of evi- 
dence, page 282, Conley's sworn statement before G. C. Feb- 
ruary, N. P., May 24th, 1913. 

"On Friday evening before the holiday, (that is, the 
day before the murder), about four minutes to 1 
"o'clock, Mr. Frank come up the aisle and asked me to 
"come to his office. When I went to the office he 
"asked me could I write, and I told him yes, I could 
"write a little bit, and he gave me a scratchpad and 
"told me what to put on it, and told me to put on there 
"dear mother, a long tall black negro did this by him- 
"self," and he told me to write it two or three times 
"on there. I wrote it on a white scratchpad, single 
"ruled. He went to his desk and pulled out another 
"scratchpad, a brownish looking scratchpad, and look- 
"ed at that writing and wrote on that himself. He 
"asked me if I knew the night watchman, and I told 
"him no, sir. I never did see him down there. He told 
"me he had some wealthy people in Brooklyn, and 



"then he held his head up and looking out of the cor- 
"ner of his eyes and said. 'Why should I hang?' and 
"that's all I remember him saying to me." 
Such crass stupidity! To swear Frank had him to write 
the murder notes, — or one of them, — and to say to him, "Why 
should I hang?" on the day before the murder! As though 
Frank were planning the crime ! This testimony before a jury 
would inevitably hang Conley, so it was vetoed. Read the 
testimony of I'inkerton detective Harry Scott, (Book of Evi- 
dence, page 81). 

"We questioned Conley three hours May 25th. He 
"repeated his story of 24th. On 27th we talked to him 
"five or six hours. We tried to impress on him that 
"Frank would not have written those notes the day 
"before the murder. That it was not a reasonable 
"story. It showed premeditation, and it would not 
"do. We pointed out why the statement would not 
"fit. We told him we wanted another statement. 1 le 
"declined to make it, said he had told the truth. On 
".May 28th Chief Lanford and I grilled him five or six 
"hours again, trying to make clear to him several 
points which were far-fetched in his statement. We 
"told him his statement would not do ; it would not 
"fit. He then made the statement of May 28th. May 
"29th we had another talk with him. Talked to him 
"almost all day. Pointed out things in his story that 
"were improbable, and he must do better than that. 
"Anything in his story that looked out of place we 
"told him wouldn't do. As to the number of matters 
"I told Conley didn't fit the first time, and those I told 
"him didn't fit the last time, I couldn't name them, it 
"would be almost impossible." 

If there are those who, after knowing these enormous 
perjuries of the negro, antagonistic as they are to common 
sense and to the consistent testimony of reputable white peo- 
ple, can still believe Frank guilty, surely they are capable of 
believing, were it but craftily enough whispered into their ears, 
that their own grandmother was Benedict Arnold. 

But it proves what I said, that the negro is stupid. It took 
four days of hard grilling by the detectives to convince him 
that a premeditated murder story would not "fit." If they had 
let him alone he would have been hung long ago. 



1 was sorry to read Ex-Governor joe Brown's letter 
against Frank in the Chronicle. If he will study the case with 
his usual care and thought he will know he is wrong. 

Reading his letter, I was reminded of an incident of my 
boyhood, (that's a long time ago, — "not so very long either"), 
in old Edgefield. A sheep had been killed in the night in a 
pasture. A poor cur of the neighborhood, a kind of waif, 
kicked about (like the Jews) from one resting place to another, 
was suspected. At a meeting of the neighbors, at the country 
store, a kind of trial was held, — very informal and noisy,— and 
the dog was sentenced to die. By the halter. There was no 
dissenting voice. The dog hadn't a friend, and his tongue had 
been tied by The Great Master. 

But one old farmer, Joe Martin,— Uncle Joe everybody 
called him,— sat mighty Still, chewing his tobacco with energy, 
and spitting on the hot stove. As the rope was being made 
ready Uncle Joe arose, thrust his hands into his breeches 
pockets and, looking sideways down at the floor, he said, 
"Boys, can't you give the poor dog a chanst? It was my dog 
done it ; go and ketch him." 

Uncle Joe Brown, can't you give the poor dog a chanst? 
Mightn't it have been your dog that done it? 



"Mr. Frank was standing at the top oi the steps. 

"shivering and trembling and rubbing bis hands, lie 

"had a little rope in his hand-- a long wide piece of 

"cord. His eyes were large and he looked funny out 

"of his eyes. His face was red." 

"He had a little rope in his hands." It was not the cord 
with which Mary was strangled: that cord was at that mo- 
ment around her neck. Mould Frank then pick up another 
cord and go to rubbing it? For he was rubbing his hands, 
and if the cord was in his hands he must be rubbing the cord. 
What for? This lie seems not quite explicit. Seems like it 
needs a little rounding out. Seems like Conlcy's friends over- 
looked it. 

"His face was red." Kind of jolly ! Just after committing 
a murder ! All we have ever read and heard and seen about a 
man going deathly pale at such a time is rot. lie goes jolly 
nil. Jim Conley says so: and "Old Jim" wouldn't lie. 

Not if he thought it was the truth. 



The negro says Frank stamped ( for him to lock the door) 
after the murder, while the body was still on the second floor. 
And that Frank whistled (for him to unlock the door) while 
the body still lay there. Frank thus of his own will subject- 
ing himself to discovery, while handling the body, by people 
coining up, through the unlocked door, as they had been com- 
ing all the morning. A man who can really believe that is 
not sane. What better proof of the negro's Stupidity than to 
tell such a tale! To do such a tiling would be stupidity; to 
tell such a tale is stupidity; to believe such a tale is stupidity. 



"The pocket book was a wire-looking whitish-look- 
"ing pocket book, — had a chain to it. You could take 
"il and fold it up and hold it in one hand." 
To be sure. You could TAKE IT,— and fold it up,— and 

hold it in one hand, — and put it in your pocket. To be sure. 

"If 1 have to go and take something." 

if you do i will try to give yon anything in this world if 
"i have to go and take SOmthing cause you have got t" 
"have to have it honey." 
Old Jim! Old Jim! Honest old |imt 



It has been said to me many times, a negro, committing 
such a crime, would not come back to the factory; lie would 
flee the town. Conley knew better than to flee, lie read the 
papers; he knew flight would be proof of guilt, and that he 
would never get hack alive. Conley's return is not unique. 
Fifteen years, to tgoo, I was bookkeeper & cashierfor Excelsior 
Mills. Tlie mildest mannered nigger we had, — smooth as Jim 
Conley. was Oscar Johnson. One Saturday night I paid him 
his week's wage. That night he decoyed his wife's sister to 
a lonely place, assaulted her, killed her, and left her dead body 
hidden in the 'weeds. Sunday night he went back, shouldered 
tlie stiff body, pitched it over a fence, and buried it in a sand- 
bar. Monday morning he was on his dray as usual, and stav- 
ed there till he was arrested, lie confessed, was judged de- 
ranged, sent to an asylum, where he escaped, went to Char- 
leston, killed two old people, and was hung. 



Circumstantial Evidence. What is it worth? 

I n 1884 I traveled a month in Mexico with Mr. G Gunby 
rordan, of Columbus, Ga. In that time we discussed nearly 
e er u in-, from the tariff to the Pyramids of Cholula And 
fynch law & To say why he was opposed to lynch law, he told 

" t S .Sa somewhere, a girl was attacked by a negro 
On release she aroused the neighborhood. At the place tracks 
W eref?u„d running across the 0™^ &™*J%& £ 
on the trail, soon pulled down a negro. His shoes fitted ^the 
tracks exactly. Lined up with other negroes, the girl at once 
mcked Wm out, "he is the man." A prompt lynching followed. 
Se yea7s after, a negro was hung in Arkansas for murder, 
iuic'l i on the gallows he confessed that he did that deed. 

The negro savs he heard Mary scream and then promptly 
M , Any human being so callous as to go to sleep 

af er hearing a girl scream.-indicating, as under the c.rcum- 
st mces it .nust.'-u. attacks-would be capable of murder, rape 
stances 11 u, Thpr0 is no m an so callous in the whole 

SJ^ESW W^ U — "» heard « *h,» 

"he push me down that hole. 

Colonel Dorsey argues that Frank showed great ner- 
vnuMU . s . trembling, asking for coffee, and so on The hi s or> 
, f the case shows that Frank is a very nervous man. in w 1 at 
I „ t -mt would Frank's nerves be. just alter a murder 

u c he had any part? Would they be steady or unsteady 
rve seen and examined closely both the original lettei 
that Frank wrote his uncle and the Financial Statement made 
iflL 1 m I declare that in neither is there the sbghtes 
See of nervousness. The entire writing is smooth, without 
1 '^,0 .nor. The figures in that statement smalpe- 

fee fv formed, are absolutely without tremor. Even the ^ 
Stive pencil figures at the tops of the columns, -the carry 
fi^Iin adding, are perfectly distinct No man could pos- 
sibly write such a letter or make such figures, having ust 
committed a crime, or having any part in it. It is impossible. 

\ s this goes to press I read that Conley swears now he 
(li( , no S t writ ethe obscene letters to the Carter woman -th£ 
they were written by the white man who runs the elevator m 
the jail. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! And isnt he the most 
rottenest liar that ever stank in human nostrils." 

Berry Benson, Augusta, Ga. 



\ 



Frank's Writing at Dictation of Police. 






■ 




£MA^M^ r ^&~ ^tU^tld^ 








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Second murder note written. 
Conley says it was the first written. 

The note on the front page was the first. Conley says it was the 
second. 




vJ&q^Ldj®A w. , til . . £j 






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